China to reopen embassy in Somalia after 23 years

2014-07-02 15:23:40 GMT2014-07-02 23:23:40(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MOGADISHU, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Newly appointed Chinese diplomat on Wednesday presented his credential to Somali Foreign Minister, Abdirahman Mohamed Beileh, as a first step in reopening China's embassy in the horn of Africa nation for more than two decades.

Wei Hongtian, Chargés d'affaires of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, presented his credentials to Abdirahman Mohamed Beileh, Somalia's foreign Minister at a ceremony at his office in Mogadishu.

Somali foreign minister Beileh hailed the appointment of the Chinese diplomat as a sign of the country's improving security and its relations with the outside world.

"We welcome the appointment of the Chinese official. Our relationship with China has always been strong and will further be strengthened by the reopening of the embassy in Mogadishu," Beileh told reporters in Mogadishu.

The appointment of the Chinese diplomat comes after more than twenty years of hiatus in the China diplomatic presence in the Somali capital Mogadishu following the outbreak of the civil conflict in 1991.

Chinese diplomat Wei Hongtian said despite the closure of Chinese embassy in Mogadishu for almost two decades, China's support for Somalia has not stopped and Chinese government has been backing peace and reconciliation effort in the country.

China has been one of the main donor countries for Somalia during the 2011-2012 famine that left hundreds of people dead and displaced thousands more.

China has also implemented various development projects in Somalia before the collapse of the central government. Among the projects implemented by Chinese government are roads, hospitals, sports facilities as well as the country's national theater in Mogadishu.

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